At a recent conference in Chicago, Pomona religious studies professor, Oona Eisenstadt talked about Jews, Jesus, and Harry Potter. Yes seriously.
Let me quote the relevant paragraphs.
Oona Eisenstadt, an assistant professor of religious studies at Pomona College, took a different approach, exploring ways in which the Potter series functions as a Christian allegory. She suggested that, in the series, Rowling has effectively split each of the major New Testament roles in two, saying, "Rowling has made the split in order to facilitate a differentiated theological understanding.'' For example, Eisenstadt said, Dumbledore and Harry Potter represent Jesus, with Potter as Jesus's human incarnation, who dies and is reborn to defeat Voldemort, and with Dumbledore as Jesus in heaven, as a divine intercessor. She described Snape and Draco Malfoy as two aspects of Judas, and the horcruxes and the hallows as two facets of the afterlife. Most provocatively, Eisenstadt, who teaches Jewish studies, suggested that the goblins and the Ministry of Magic both stand in for the Jewish community as seen by anti-Semites. "Rowling takes the rapacious and unscrupulous characteristics of the Jews (as seen by anti-Semites) and assigns these to a non-human species,'' she said. She noted that the goblins are "small, hunched and wizened,'' love money and precious metals, work as goldsmiths, are hoarders, run the bank, and cheat when they can. "Clearly the goblins are the anti-Semites' Jews,'' she said. "The other side of the anti-Semitic conception of Jews is legalism,'' she said, "and legalism is the quality of the Ministry of Magic." Eisenstadt said the ministry "is unquestionably the Pharisees,'' and said that as the ministry's role evolves during the Potter series, "the reader can not help but understand it as a commentary on politics at large.''
I'm intrigued by the new set of questions: Does this mean that Jesus (a.k.a. Dumbledore) is gay? More importantly, now that we know goblins are Jews, does that mean Pomona will ban the Harry Potter books, like it did with the alma mater? Or will they ban goblins outright like they did Jewish professors back in 40s?
(One observation by Eisenstadt that caught my attention was her critique of the Hogwarts administration for allowing a Sorting Hat to assign children to houses with others of the same personality type. "An enlightened school board would break up Slytherin,'' she said. "But there is no enlightened school board in the wizarding world.")
Come to think of it, I only see goblins up at Mudd.